Culture, Identity

Heeb Media blocked from securing trademark monopoly over use of term "Heeb"

Editor’s note: The following is a guest post from Matt Bycer

Love it or leave it, Heeb Magazine has tapped a cultural phenomenon to become a well distributed, and highly criticized, publication for the hip-Jew crowd. In an attempt to leverage their popular momentum, Heeb Media filed to register the mark “Heeb” for its latest foray in the fashion industry and for event promotions.
Standing in their way is the aging public, protected-in-part by the U.S.P.T.O. Where do we draw the line with regard to the uses, sarcastic and pejorative, of the term ‘Heeb’? Originating in the 20th century, ‘Heeb‘ became a common derogatory slur to refer to Jews. Many of our grandparents suffered unspeakable anti-semitism through the 20th century, such anti-semitism continuing to this day. Do we feel compassion?
The term ‘Heeb’ has been used and abused by Heeb Media, plastered on T-shirts and used to promote social events. Don’t get me wrong, I love my “Yo Semite” T-shirt, and I agree with most forms of free speech as protected by the First Amendment.
In fact, the TTAB addresses these concerns stating that while Heeb Media intends “to transform this word, the best that can be said is that it is still in transition.”
However, giving Heeb Media the power to restrict others’ use of the term ‘Heeb’, to promote its profitable endeavors, seems counter to any cultural revolution. Perhaps we will see the evolution of our lexicon in our lifetime; let us hope that the guiding power remains in our hands.
Matt Bycer is a practicing Intellectual Property lawyer in Phoenix, Arizona and a patent attorney with Cahill, von Hellens & Glazer, PLC. He can be reached at mbycer (-a-t-) or 602.956.7000

3 thoughts on “Heeb Media blocked from securing trademark monopoly over use of term "Heeb"

  1. A similar issue confronted the group Dykes on Bykes a couple of years ago – Anyone who has been to a gay pride parade knows that the first contingent is usually a bunch of women on motorcycles that is known as Dykes on Bikes (hey it’s clever, it rhymes, and dyke is a word that’s been reclaimed from the pejorative by some lesbians as an empowering term). Someone sued against their ability to trademark the term, if I remember right, because it was offensive. It ended up at the Supreme Court and they won.
    First case:
    Second case:

  2. Mobius,
    Hopefully it’ll get swallowed up by all the posts on the recent Israel-Gaza activity.
    Since when did this site go the way of the History channel (only covering war politics and military campaigns)? I thought this site was about culture for the hipsters. Sure, I don’t like when people are killing people, but let’s live our lives.
    The propaganda machines have taken us in. Break free!
    – Bycenator

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